MDC names two from Winona 2018 Loggers of the Year

News from the region
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WINONA, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Robert Neal and Chesley Neal of Winona on being named Missouri’s State Loggers of the Year for 2018. The Neals were also named regional loggers of the year for the Ozark Region.

The Neals were nominated by MDC Forester Gary Gognat, who has high praise for the work they’ve done on conservation areas.

“One of the most valuable traits for a logger is consistent, quality work,” said Gognat. “The Neals consistently exceed all expectations and I am glad to see them recognized.”

Robert and his nephew Chesley work on both public and private land, and according to Gognat, make his job easier.

“They conduct logging operations that always use best management practices that protect water quality and minimize damage, said Gognat. “Their outstanding work ethic is something that cannot be taught or dictated by contract. In my years of professional forestry experience, Robert and Chesley’s work stands alone as an example of what is possible when someone cares about their work.”

MDC Forest Products Program Supervisor Mike Morris added, “The Neals represent exactly what we want from Missouri’s professional loggers. They take care to protect natural resources and recognize the value of proper training and safety.”

In recognition of their award, the Neals received a framed certificate from MDC and a STIHL chainsaw and safety equipment donated by long-time partner Crader Distributing of Marble Hill.

MDC partners with Crader Distributing to give annual awards to loggers who have demonstrated outstanding performance and good working relationships with landowners and foresters. The loggers are recognized for minimizing damage to trees and natural resources and for using best management techniques that preserve Missouri's forested lands for generations to come. For more information, visit